Verify is a handheld tool that assists paramedics when administrating drugs. It helps prevent medication error within pre-hospital care caused by confusing and frustrating labels, while providing reassuring and streamlined access to supporting drug information when desired (such as dosages, contraindications, side effects, and cautions). No matter what experience level, or what unexpected situation, Verify ensures Paramedics are supported to make quick and well informed decisions, removing any uncertainties or ambiguity.
In addition, Verify reduces manual input in stressful situations by automatically recording and uploading treatment information to the patient’s journal and hospital inventory system, allowing paramedics to focus on what is trulyimportant - their patients.
pReductions of emergency treatment in Swedish hospitals has created higher demands for quality and competence in ambulance medical care. In collaboration with Umea Ambulance Station and Laerdal Medical, we were asked to develop a future product solution that would help improve the daily lives of paramedics.
Encouraged to utilize a 'human centered design' approach, we collectively made several visits to Umea Ambulance Station. Initially, the entire class were given a general introduction and tour around the station before returning in smaller groups to work closer with individual paramedics. This included many fika breaks and casual discussions, training exercises and the opportunity to attend call-outs. This invaluable experience allowed us to really understand the diversity of situations that paramedics go through on a daily basis and the importance of emotional support when dealing with patients.
To summarize our findings we then completed several short workshops that included exercises such as 'a day in the life of', visual persona storyboards, role plays and some intensive post-it noting! As a result I became extremely interested in exploring different ways to prevent medication error within pre-hospital care.
Looking back at our initial visits, several paramedics were frustrated at the difficulty of reading drug labels (e.g. smaller and complicated text), and in particular how drug labels are ever changing depending on the cheapest manufacturers prices at time of purchase. When researching further abroad, it quickly became apparent that similar problems are occurring, for example "When reviewing medications carried by the nine EMS agencies, 38 medication safety issues were identified.....Examples of potential issues included carrying expired medications, container-labeling issues, different medications stored in look-alike vials or prefilled syringes in the same compartment." These findings encouraged a deeper investigation into the different types of medicine and analysis of how they are used. Here, it became obvious there is a huge amount of information surrounding each drug that is virtually impossible to memorize.
To better understand this issue I revisited the paramedics several times and was eventually introduced to the treatment guidelines, a text heavy book that is stored within the front of each ambulance. This guide acts a 'bible' to the paramedics containing not only the information regarding drugs but also every procedure, technique and corresponding scenarios - hence why it's stored within the front of the ambulance to act as a refresher when travelling to cases. However, while this works well for revising procedures the paramedics are often unaware of what medication a patient needs before assessing in person. Whether this is in the back of the ambulance or a patients apartment, the treatment guidelines not are not always accessible when they are needed the most (in regards to administrating medicine).
Similarly, it was also noted that there is a lot of pressure on the paramedics to record the patients treatment information while in stressful situations. In some cases when multiple injections are given using different medicines or custom dosages, the syringe itself is manually written on and given to the hospital staff apon arrival. This creates a lot of room for error and in some cases may even become a distraction from the patient. Likewise each paramedic must remember what drugs have been used and manually log this into the hospital inventory system after each case, ensuring they are fully equipped for the next call-out.
GOALS + WISHES
In summary this project aims to:
- Prevent medication error due to poor labeling - Make supporting drug information more accessible - Improve drug tracking and recording - Provide the Paramedics with reassurance
1. ALWAYS AVAILABLE
Verify's compact and lightweight design enables it to be stored where it belongs......within the medicine bag. This allows paramedics to access supporting drug information from any location (e.g. patients apartment) and never risk making uninformed decisions.
2. PREVENTS MEDICATION ERROR
Current drug labels are frustrating and difficult to read, while varying greatly between different manufacturers. Verify detects (by scanning barcode) and emphasizes each ampoule's name, volume and dosage. Ensuring the paramedics intended choice matches the medication being handled.
3. ALLOWS INSTANT ACCESS
Verify provides quick access to crucial information surrounding each medicine. Key data from the current treatment guidelines is now easier to understand and streamlined for immediate use when required. More specific features include:
LOGGING TO JOURNAL
Once the correct medication has been confirmed, Verify will automatically upload each drug used to both the patients journal and hospital inventory system. Giving the paramedics more time to focus on their patients and ensuring medical supplies are fully stocked.
COMMONLY USED DRUGS
Supporting drug information is structured in different menus to ensure quick use when frequent drugs (e.g. morpheme) are scanned.
If required, Verify will highlight any important information (through color and flashing) to grab the paramedics attention
Verify will automatically calculate custom dosages for children based on keyed input, avoiding any manual calculations in stressful situations
4. ASSISTS WHEN DRAWING UP
Unique detailing allows Verify to securely house a variety of different sized ampoules (ISO 9187-1/2). This protects the fragile glass while creating a firmer and more comfortable grip when snapping off 'sharps' and drawing up medicine (preparing needle and syringe).
Great user research behind this product idea. It uses technology to solve a real problem.